After 16 months with the majority of its 1,100+ workforce working from home, UFG Insurance is reopening its offices across the country this week. UFG employees will have the opportunity to return to the office over five three-week phases, with approximately 20% of in-office staff members returning during each phase.
This phased approach is meant to support staff safety and well-being as they re-acclimate to working in the office. UFG is anticipating an adjustment period for its returning employees, understanding that the office they left behind won’t be the same as the office they are returning to, with new safety procedures in place.
“After months of preparation and planning, we are excited to finally be able to begin bringing our people back to the office,” said UFG President and CEO Randy Ramlo. “Though our employees have excelled in their remote work these past 16 months and far exceeded our every expectation, a good number of our staff members have expressed a desire to return to the office and we’re pleased to be able to accommodate their requests.
“As part of our reopening, we’re also looking forward to ushering in a more flexible future of work at UFG, one that affords our people even greater workplace flexibility than before. This includes our offering of a new hybrid work arrangement that allows employees to split their time between home and office each week.”
The company has long supported workplace flexibility for its employees, implementing flexible work schedules in 2015 that allowed for one day of remote work each week. With its introduction of a hybrid work arrangement in 2021, the vast majority of UFG employees will be working on either a hybrid or remote basis.
Currently, UFG has remote workers in more than 375 cities across the U.S. and the company believes its flexible work arrangements will further enhance its ability to attract and retain a more diverse workforce.
UFG’s offices have been closed since March 19, 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, more than 90% of employees pivoted to working from home while approximately 100 office-critical staff members continued to come into the office, working in shifts to ensure proper social distancing.
“In reflecting on the past 16 months, I continue to be humbled and inspired by the resiliency of our people,” added Mr. Ramlo. “Despite the many uncertainties surrounding the pandemic, our people successfully maintained business as usual for our customers and also continued to advance our strategic goals and initiatives. We are indebted to them, as well as to our office-critical staff members, who went above and beyond for our company at a most critical time.
“Before the pandemic, the longest we had ever been displaced as a company was 11 weeks during the Flood of 2008 in Cedar Rapids – a number I never imagined we’d surpass. But once again, UFG employees rose to the challenge and for that, I am most grateful.”
UFG will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 cases and adjust its reopening plans as needed to ensure the safety of employees returning to the office.